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Gatorade Inventor Robert Cade Dies at 80

Published November 28, 2007

GAINESVILLE, FL (BRAIN)—You might not drink it as your hydration liquid of choice on your rides now, but there once was a time when Gatorade was all that existed when it came to replacing lost carbohydrates and electrolytes.

Gatorade’s inventor Dr. J. Robert Cade, who had been in declining health for quite some time, died on Tuesday.

Cade invented the now billion-dollar Gatorade in 1965 for the University of Florida Gators football team. The players were having trouble enduring Florida’s hot and muggy weather during practice. Cade, the team’s physician at the time, was glad to help.

It wasn’t success at first taste, however. The first batch tasted so horrible it made Cade’s team of Gatorade researchers sick.

His wife told him to add lemon juice and artificial sweetener “because that usually covers up any bad taste,” Cade said in a 1994 speech at an innovation workshop.

Gatorade isn’t only still used by road and mountain bikers, but to aid in post-operative recovery and to treat diarrhea in children.

“It’s the feeling that I’ve made the world a better place to live,” Cade said in a 2007 Orlando Sentinel article. “Pediatricians rely on the drink when they work with patients, and people in Third World countries who suffer from cholera have a heavy reliance on Gatorade. That’s the best part.”

—Jason Norman

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